Your local Realtor® is someone who can guide you around to specific homes, give you insight into which homes on the market might be the best fit for you and your family, provide information into local market statistics and so much more.
However, when it comes to providing you more detailed, opinion-based information on a specific area. you're going to have to do a little research on your own. Federal, state and local laws regarding fair housing do not permit Realtors to steer a buyer or discriminate against a certain area or body, which doesn't allow them to share certain information. But that doesn't mean you can't research a neighborhood on your own. We'll show you where to start...
Scope out the Area in Person
A simple drive through the area can tell you a lot about a neighborhood. Are children playing outside? How does the nearby town look? What kind of condition are the neighborhood homes in? Throw on your investigator hat and jump into your car to get a better idea of the layout and conditions of the area. And don’t forget to drive by during different times of the day and throughout the week. That will give you a better understanding of what the area would be like to live in.
Researching information on the demographic of the people that live in the neighborhood, like age, marital status and income, can help give you a sense of where you might feel most at home.
Today, the internet makes it so easy to find out what crimes have taken place in a particular area in just a matter of minutes. Checking crime reports is especially important if you have children that you’re planning to move into the area.
If you’re seriously considering a neighborhood, you can even reach out to the local police to get further information (and probably the most accurate information) about theft, burglary or any other cases that have taken place in that area.
If you do have a family with school-aged children, schools are most likely one of your top priorities. You can easily find out online what schools districts certain neighborhoods are in, which may or may not ultimately influence your purchasing decision.
Ask the Neighbors or Locals
No one would know better what the area and neighbors are like than a local. If you aren’t shy, try waving down a neighbor that you see outside, or even nonchalantly knock on their door to ask a few questions about what they think about the area.